I think the biggest challenge that I have faced in my time in ministry has not been difficult counseling situations, probing theological questions, or navigating through family crisis. The biggest challenge has been dealing with...me. Fighting my own tendency towards pride, my frequent desire for self-glorification, and the constant temptation to please people.
These temptations are common to all of us. But for some reason, in ministry it seems that these temptations even more strongly rear their heads and the Devil uses these to derail people in ministry. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have dealt with the "head games" that come with pride.
As much as we in ministry want pure motives and beg God for a pure heart in our work, the temptation to seek glory is waiting on the doorstep of our heart, and all it takes is a little crack in the door before it comes in like a flood.
As I read the book of John, I am challenged as Jesus demonstrated what it looks like to live for the glory of God rather than his own glory:
"I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge," John 8:50.
"The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood," John 7:18.
"I do not receive glory from people," John 5:41.
The amazing thing about Jesus was that his ministry was practiced with complete purity of heart. His purpose was not to glorify himself or please man. His ministry was marked by saying and doing only what the Father desired of him. And there were times when aspects of his ministry were not popular with man and the things that he spoke were hard - yet this was not Jesus' concern. His purpose was to do what the Father desired.
O, that this would be how I live out my ministry calling. I pray that the same Spirit that empowered Jesus to live this way would empower me as well.